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Press Release

Former oil and gas employee sentenced after using company card for $850K of personal use

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – A 59-year-old Bryan resident has been ordered to federal prison after he admitted to wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

James Day Burke pleaded guilty May 12, admitting he defrauded Rustex Inc., an oil and energy company in Bryan.

Today, U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks handed Burke a 41-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard from Rustex’s owner as well as her two daughters who described the impact the fraud has had on her and the business. In handing down the sentence, the court explained that society needed to be protected from people like Burke, called him a “charlatan” and that he stole for no other reason except for his own selfish greed.

Burke was employed as the bookkeeper at Rustex. From approximately May 2010 to approximately August 2018, Burke made unauthorized charges on company credit cards for personal expenses. He then paid those unauthorized personal charges from Rustex’s bank account.

For example, Burke accessed Rustex’s American Express account Aug. 7, 2015, to pay the July 2015 statement totaling $32,198.70. This amount included a personal dental charge of $1,954 which he had made using another employee’s company-issued credit card. He paid the outstanding credit card bill with money from Rustex’s bank account.

In total, Burke defrauded the company out of $855,872.42 as a result of his scheme.

Previously released on bond, Burke was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The FBI - Bryan Resident Agency conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Braddock prosecuted the case.

Updated August 20, 2020

Financial Fraud